John Steigerwald: Pirates not signing Dallas Keuchel actually makes sense |
John Steigerwald, Columnist

John Steigerwald: Pirates not signing Dallas Keuchel actually makes sense

The Atlanta Braves signed former Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel for $13 million for the rest of the regular season.

Dallas Keuchel to the Pirates? Are you serious?

When Keuchel, who won the Cy Young award in 2015, signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves last week, there was the usual and expected outcry from fans and some in the media.

He only cost the Braves $13 million. Nutting is cheap. He doesn’t care about winning. He only cares about profit.

Let’s get real.

First of all, it was actually a $20 million signing prorated because Keuchel missed a third of the season. So it’s not just a $13 million signing. It’s $13 million for two thirds of a season.

And let’s allow for the remotest of remote possibilities that Keuchel would have considered spending a miserable summer in Pittsburgh with no chance of winning a division and a slim chance of making the playoffs.

Why would Nutting write him a check for $13 million? For what? So he could finish third instead of fourth in the NL Central?

Keuchel would not have drawn an extra 12 people to PNC Park this season, and he’d be a free agent when it was over.

Only someone who’s really good at spending other people’s money would have a tough time figuring out why Nutting would rather add the $13 million to his profits this year than give it to a guy who had little chance of making a big difference

How would you like three bye weeks? That’s what you might get in a Steelers season that includes 18 regular-season games. The Canadian Football League teams play 18 with three weeks off, and they get the three weeks off for safety reasons.

The NFL would be compared unfavorably to the CFL on the safety issue if it had fewer than three.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got everybody talking about adding two games last week when he finally admitted publicly what everybody with a brain has known for at least 25 years. NFL preseason games are a waste of everybody’s time.

Goodell was speaking to reporters in Buffalo, where the Bills are trying to pull one over on the local taxpayers by getting them to pay for a new stadium.

He said coaches have told him they don’t need four games in the summer to evaluate players, and he said the games don’t provide “great value” for the fans.

There is speculation the owners would like to get 18 games in the next collective bargaining agreement with the players.

So what would an 18-game regular season look like? The Steelers play their last two preseason games this year Aug. 25 and 29. Would 18 games mean starting the season Aug. 25 when millions of people are at the beach?

The league stopped opening the season on Labor Day weekend several years ago because of bad TV ratings.

And if the players settle for two bye weeks, the season would be over at the end of the first week of January.

So when is the Super Bowl played? On Valentine’s Day?

Most fans would give anything to trade two deadly exhibition games for two real games, but it might not be as easy to do as they think.

The controversy over Central Catholic having a competitive advantage in sports came up again last week when Central’s new basketball coach, Brian Urso, was suspended for two games by the WPIAL for recruiting.

What’s lost in the discussion about the competitive advantage is the fact that a kid who accepts an invitation to go to Central Catholic is almost assuredly going to get a better education than he would have received at the public school he would have been forced to attend.

And choosing to go to school in Oakland usually means a long commute to and from school every day.

He has to wear a collared shirt, a tie and dress pants.

And, oh, by the way, no girls.

Anybody who can sell that deal to a teenage boy deserves a little competitive advantage.

John Steigerwald is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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